Religion – The Core of a Person’s World View

Religion is the core of a person’s world view, the context within which he or she lives. It is a system of sanctions and rewards, approval and disapproval, inspiration and ideation. It provides a context within which people evaluate their actions: is this wise or foolish, prudent or reckless? It is the source of many of life’s richest creations, from art and architecture to agriculture, music, dance, drama, poetry, and explorations of the cosmos that issued into what we now know as the natural sciences.

It is the foundation for many of the most profound and beautiful of human creations, such as religious art, which comes in a great variety of forms, from small pieces of jewellery to huge sculptures and paintings. It is also the source of much of life’s most important events, such as weddings, funerals and celebrations.

The way in which religions organize themselves is extremely varied, from the very large and coherently organized and hierarchical, such as Roman Catholicism, with a central authority at the Vatican, a hierarchy of bishops, cardinals, priests, and male and female religious orders, running in parallel with a spiritual hierarchy of apostles, saints, martyrs, confessors and doctors; to the very small and local, such as those of witches and shamans, or even just a village assembly (the Greek term ekklesia). All religions have some kind of building where people meet: in Judaism these are called synagogues, in Christianity churches; in Islam mosques; and in Buddhism pagodas or temples. Almost all religions have some sort of special artworks that are displayed in these buildings.